Although all local authorities (LA) are supposed to follow the DCSF Elective Home Education Guidelines for Local Authorities, unfortunately how they interpret them and what they understand their duties to be varies considerably around the country.
Local authorities tend to place EHE in departments also responsible for other sections of the community such as truancy, excluded children and ‘children missing education’, educational welfare, Gypsy and Traveller groups and the like. Obviously each of these groups of people have different needs and require different kinds of support and understanding.
For an example of how problems arise; if as is generally the case, EHE is placed in a department that is also responsible for excluded children and children missing education through truancy, then the approach and ‘support’ they apply to home educators tends to come from a very school orientated point of view, which is often inappropriate for EHE.
There is very little money given to local authorities to support EHE. Unfortunately, this often results in a lack of adequate training of advisors/inspectors responsible for EHE. Most of the personnel working in the various LA departments that EHE families have to deal with, have professional backgrounds in the state education system. Given how narrow the state educational system is and how broad and diverse the EHE community is, this also often causes a lack of understanding by local authorities.
There are some open minded EHE advisors, but equally there are some who are definitely not. This unfortunately results in a lack of consistency between LAs and also within the individual departments themselves. Families therefore, can have quite different experiences with their LA.
It is worth speaking to a local HE group in your area to find out what your LA is actually like if you are considering whether to register with them or not.